SRAM S60 Wheelset

SRAM S60 300x298 SRAM S60 Wheelset

SRAM S60 Wheelset

SRAM made their name in drivetrains, but what’s a drive train worth if it’s just pulling slow wheels? Bring on the SRAM wheelsets, and especially their super handsome, super fast deep section carbon models. Best of all, just as SRAM moved into drivetrains with high quality components that could undercut the comparable Shimano and Campagnolo gearsets, SRAM wheels are setting out to keep the pressure on the big name wheelmakers even their own acquired brand of Zipp. Best of all, once again they’re doing it at fantastic prices.

Deep section dream machines

If you are new to riding deep sections, such as steeping up your time trialing or triathlon, or you are a serious road racer looking for specialist wheels for fast, flat courses, then the SRAM S60 is a great place to start. With a 60mm rim, you’re going to get some significant aero advantages over low profile road rims, but at the same time you won’t be as hammered by cross wind yaw as you would with an 80mm, let alone a disk. That makes 60mm rims a super choice for riders want more slipstream speed when every second counts. The best part of the SRAM S60 wheelset is the price. At around $1300 for the pair, they aren’t out of reach for most serious cyclists looking for specialist wheels. That price even makes these flashy, high performance wheels a realistic upgrade for aspiring triathletes as their main competition wheelset.

So what’s the down side?

As with any deep section wheel, you are adding more material, so you are adding more weight. At a combined weight of around 1850g, these wheels are a lot heavier than low profile road race wheels. That means, if you ride hilly courses (or find climbing tough), need to accelerate quickly, or are generally low on power, then you might be better off foregoing some aerodynamics for grams and opting for a more traditional road wheel. If you are riding solo in triathlon or time trials, and don’t need to climb big hills or chase down a sprint, then go for aero wheels. After all, once you get them going they are easier to keep there!

The SRAM S60 is very aerodynamic indeed. Zipp aficionados will recognize the characteristic ‘bulge’ of the rim – this smooths air flow and decreases resistance, especially in cross winds. It’s got another perk too; that bulge improves stiffness making these wheels a load of fun to corner and descend. Where some deep sections can feel wobbly on fast descents, bobble on uneven surfaces, and even flex in corners, the S60 is the perfect balance of aerodynamics and stiffness to make pretty much any race fun. Riding downhill around corners at breakneck speeds on the S60 is a bit like riding a motorbike. That said, they are what they are, and heavier riders need to treat these wheels with some respect.

Surprisingly convenient

In this price range, SRAM has been smart to make these wheels very flexible. Knowing that shoppers after the 60mm, ‘mid section’ type of wheel may be looking or a wheel that go from time trial to road race, they’ve kept these wheels simple and adaptable. An aluminum brake surface means you don’t need special brake pads like you do for your carbon models. The spokes are accessible (to your mechanic only) making truing not only possible but straightforward, and the rims can take a variety of tire pressures, allowing you to pump up for time trials or soften it out for a longer road race. This model gets a top end hub – as it should – that rides pretty smooth for handling a relatively heavy wheel.

Sure, if you are really serious about your racing and want the perfect wheel for precise conditions, then you are more likely to opt for the significantly lighter, but significantly more expensive mid section Zipps. Ask yourself though, if that extra thousand bucks couldn’t be spent better elsewhere on your bike to make you faster. With the S60, you’ll get a cheaper, more all-around and resilient wheel, and while you’ll carry an extra 200g or so, the convenience may pay off. They look really good too, now that SRAM has made sure the decals actually stick!

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